By Terry Harpole
MABEN — Sunday night was kind of a homecoming for many people in the Church of God on Crowley Drive in Maben and others in the area.
The Rev. Levelle Kelly came here to help hold a four-night revival in the same church his late brother, the Rev. Leslie Kelly, helped start.
The Maben Church of God building was owned for years by Sue Crowley and later others, and was the Maben Restaurant. The Rev. Leslie Kelly and his church group bought the building, and started the church.
A few changes have been seen in the pastors serving this church since its beginnings, and now the Rev. Kerry Collins is the pastor.
This church has seen a growth in the membership in the last few years and now, with the cooperation of the members and Collins, is now seeing continued growth, even among the young people who make up the membership of this church.
The revival at this church began Sunday and continued through Wednesday night.
The Rev. Levelle Kelly, who preached this revival, is no stranger to the area. He was born in this area, and still has family and friends all around. He was born in Choctaw County near Mathiston in 1939 — one of 10 children. Another brother who lived in the area, the late Wess Kelly, is remembered as a longtime Mathiston policeman and a member of the Trace-Way Coffee Table Group.
The Rev. Levelle Kelly, now living in Byron, Ga., has been preaching for 54 years and now is senior pastor of Gateway Fellowship Church in Byron, where his son is pastor.
Many of the Rev. Kelly’s family and friends were present, adding to the large attendance. During the revival meeting, he stressed the importance of being concerned with our lives, and the need for the church to be a guide and example for our young people.
As with many ministers, they find it hard to call themselves retired. When the Rev. Kelly was asked if he had given much thought of ever retiring and moving back, he replied, “ I have not thought about going back home to live, as most of my immediate family are gone, but I have many relatives and friends, and it is always good to go back and visit.”